Stevenage Borough 0 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Match Report courtesy of Unofficial Rushden & Diamonds Website (1997-2001)

26th December 1998 – Broadhall Way (Attendance: 4390)

Rushden Team: Feuer, Wooding, Bradshaw, Rodwell, Hamsher, Brady, Butterworth, Heggs, West, De Souza, Underwood.
Subs: Foster, McElhatton, Archer.

Webmasters MoM: Ian Feuer

Match Report:

Both Boro and Diamonds slipped further behind the Conference leaders, after this hard fought but un-impressive display.  Maybe the conditions played a large part in the stalemate as rain and wind lashed down on the players, but I don’t think we saw either team demonstrating today that they are potential Conference Champions. You can come up with many reasons why the match was poor, Diamonds concentrating on the FA Cup, having to make changes due to injuries, Boro managerless, Carl Alford playing for Boro – all valid reasons but at the end of the day the teams don’t look good enough!

Both teams in the first half failed to give quality ball to the forwards. Boro battled away down the flanks, and Diamonds pushed West and De Souza down the middle. Both failed miserably as there was no inventiveness or creativity in the middle of the park. The Diamonds defence had difficulty keeping their feet in the conditions, as gave away needless fouls. Feuer looks to be a good keeper, 6’7″ tall he commands the area but is also very quick to either come out and clear his lines, or smother opposing forwards. He made a couple of great saves and I am sure BT will be very pleased with his debut performance. Boro had the best of the first half chances, and only the woodwork kept Diamonds level at half time as a looping header beat the keeper, but rebounded to a Diamonds player and was safely cleared. De Souza gad a couple of half chances that were wasted, and poor finishing from West kept the scores level at half time.

Boro obviously pushed forward in the second half as you would expect from the home team, but despite huffing and puffing from Boro, the Diamonds defence never really looked in that much trouble. Rodders, coming in for the injured Warburton, had a steady game doing all that was asked of him. He is never going to be a player that will creatively clear his lines, but he does what he is good at very well. Bradshaw and Wooding suffered most from being unable to keep their feet, but both played well, as did John Hamsher who is a real work-a-holic. He tirelessly covers every blade of the grass, but found no chance to really get forward as often as he normally likes. Carl Heggs had one of his quieter games, a few mazy runs, but will probably feel disappointed with his performance today.

Jon Brady and Unders struggled down the flanks, the crosses were poor, and there seemed an un-willingness to take players on today. Strange that, because the conditions were made for players who can run and turn quickly. West and De Souza were very strong today, holding and shielding the ball, making tireless runs, but the lack of creativity in midfield meant that there service was poor, and there was a lack of support to help them.

Neither of these teams look capable of taking the Conference on this performance today. Diamonds must beat Woking on Monday to keep up with the leaders, there can be no mishaps. We are now in a position where BT cannot say the ball is in our court, we only have to win our games in hand and we are at the top. Our position is precarious, and we now need to see some good performances, from the team and certain individuals. The players have now to stand up and be counted. I am sure there will be a good crowd at Nene Park on Monday, so lets hope that we can look forward to a well earned three points. Another performance like that against Farnborough will not be good enough. Forget Leeds, we need those three points!

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